– Marina Muñoz Cervera –
Selenium is an essential trace mineral.
This means your body must get this mineral in the food you eat. Small amounts of selenium are good for your health.
Selenium helps the body with:
- Making special proteins, called antioxidant enzymes, which play a role in preventing cell damage
- Helping your body protect you after a vaccination
Some medical studies suggest that selenium may help with the following conditions, but more studies are needed:
- Prevent certain cancers
- Prevent cardiovascular disease
- Help protect the body from the poisonous effects of heavy metals and other harmful substances
- Boost fertility, especially among men. The mineral has been shown to improve the production of sperm and sperm movement.
Plant foods, such as vegetables, are the most common dietary sources of selenium. How much selenium is in the vegetables you eat depends on how much of the mineral was in the soil where the plants grew.
Fish, shellfish, red meat, grains, eggs, chicken, liver, and garlic are all good sources of selenium. Meats produced from animals that ate grains or plants found in selenium-rich soil have higher levels of selenium.
Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, and enriched breads are also good sources of selenium.
Dietary Reference Intakes for selenium:
- 0 – 6 months: 15 micrograms per day (mcg/day)
- 7 – 12 months: 20 mcg/day
- 1 – 3 years: 20 mcg/day
- 4 – 8 years: 30 mcg/day
- 9 – 13 years: 40 mcg/day
Adolescents and Adults
- Males age 14 and older: 55 mcg/day
- Females age 14 and older: 55 mcg/day
The best way to get the daily requirement of essential vitamins is to eat a balanced diet that contains a variety of foods.
Too much selenium in the blood can cause a condition called selenosis. Selenosis can cause hair loss, nail problems, nausea, irritability, fatigue, and mild nerve damage. However, selenium toxicity is rare in the United States.